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Monday, August 23, 2010

Edition 28: History of Rupee and Swami Vivekanand in USA after 100 years

History of Rupee


July 15, 2010 turned out to be a historic day, as the Indian Rupee got the much awaited symbol, just like other leading currencies of the world viz – Dollar, Euro, Pound Sterling and the Yen. The new symbol is an amalgamation of Devanagari –‘Ra’ and the Roman ‘R’ without the stem. The new symbol designed by IIT Bombay postgraduate D Udaya Kumar was approved by the Union Cabinet. The new symbol will not be printed or embossed on currency notes or coins, but it would be included in the 'Unicode Standard' to ensure that it is easily displayed and printed in the electronic and print media. The encoding of the rupee symbol in the Indian Standards is estimated to take about six

months while encoding in the Unicode and ISO/IEC 10646 will take about 18 months to two years. It will also be incorporated in software packages and keyboards in use in India.

The genesis of the word ‘rupee’ is in the Sanskrit word ‘raupya’ which means silver. Indian Rupee is variously called ‘rupaya’ in Hindi, ‘rupiyo’ in Gujarati, ‘roopayi’ in Telugu and Kannada, ‘rubai’ in Tamil and ‘rupyakam’ in Sanskrit. However in Eastern India it is called ‘Taka/Toka’ in Bengali and Assamese and ‘Tanka’ in Oriya. India was one of the earliest issuers of coin, and as a result it has seen a wide range of monetary

units throughout its history. There is some historical evidence to show that the first coins may have been introduced somewhere between 2500 and 1750 BC. However, the first documented coins date from between the 7th/6th century BC to the 1st century AD. These coins are called 'punchmarked' coins because of manufacturing technique.

Over the next few centuries, the country's coinage designs reflected its progression and depicted dynasties, socio-political events, deities, and nature. In 712 AD, the Arabs brought in their influence. By the 12th Century, Turkish Sultans of Delhi replaced the longstanding Arab designs and replaced them with Islamic calligraphy. This currency was referred to as 'Tanka' . In 1526, the Mughal period commenced, bringing forth a unified and consolidated monetary system for the entire Empire. Afghan King Sher Shah Suri (1540 to 1545) introduced the silver Rupayya or the Rupee coin. The princely states of pre-colonial India minted their own coins, all which mainly resembled the silver Rupee, but held regional distinctions depending on where they were from. During the late 18th Century, agency houses developed banks such as the Bank of Bengal, The Bank of Hindustan, Oriental Bank Corporation and The Bank of Western India. These banks also

printed their own paper currency in Urdu, Bengali and Devnagari languages.

With the formation of The Paper Currency Act in 1861, the issue of notes was monopolized by the Government of India. In 1867, the famous Victoria Portrait series

of bank notes was issued in honour of Queen Victoria . The Reserve Bank of India took over the authority to print and circulate banknotes from the Government of India in 1935. The notes bearing the portrait of George V was replaced by the notes bearing the portrait

of George VI in 1938. The notes with the portrait of George VI were in circulation till 1947 and were taken off the money market with the independence of India . The Lion Capital at Sarnath replaced George VI.

Swami Vivekananda Again In US After 100 Years

A spiritual centre dedicated to Swami Vivekananda, whointroduced the world to Indian spirituality and Hinduism, was inaugurated at a Hindu temple in Chicago. Swami Vivekananda Spiritual Centre was inaugurated by spiritual leader Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the temple at Greater Chicago on Saturday.

"We had a vision of developing the Vivekananda Centre," Chairman of the Vivekananda Committee Krishna Reddy told media. The construction of the one million dollar-meditation centre started last August and it took 11 months to complete it. Another USD 150,000 will go toward ornamental decoration or carving of 'gopurams' of the meditation centre which will be completed by April 2011," he added.

The 3300-square-feet centre will be used for meditation and yoga classes. It will also provide books and other reading materials.The mediation hall is 2,000 square feet. The centre is next to a bronze Swami Vivekananda statue weighing one ton and standing 10 feet and 2 inches tall. It is the only Swami Vivekananda statue outside India.

Originally meant for Grant Park in Chicago, the statue was installed at the temple in 1998 because the city council rejected to place it at the downtown park on account of religious reasons. The statue was made by the Vedanta Society of Chicago. Swami Vivekananda was the first Hindu monk ever to visit America. He made his famous speech to the Parliament of World's Religions on 11th September, 1893 in Chicago and introduced the world to Indian spirituality and Hinduism.

"Swami Vivekananda Spiritual Centre will be a good resource for the government of India since it is celebrating 150th birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda on 12th January, 2013," Reddy added.

Singh suggested a 12-point plan to commemorate the event and setting up of a National Implementation Committee under chairmanship of Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

The high-level committee headed by Singh also discussed creation of Vivekananda chairs in universities, particularly at Chicago University, preservation of some important heritage sites, and encouraging student participation. It also decided to commemorate the Chicago address

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